Today is World Multiple Sclerosis Day and this year theme is ‘My Invisible MS’ (#MyInvisibleMS) aimed at raising awareness about the very subtle symptoms and its unseen impact on the quality of life.
In India, the prevalence of MS has increased drastically over the years from being a low-risk zone to moderate risk.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own central nervous system. Nerve fibre in the body is covered with a layer of myelin, a substance that protects the nerves and transmits electrical signals.
And in an individual with multiple sclerosis, the myelin is damaged and areas with a few myelin do not transmit signals from the brain to the targeted muscles as quickly as it should.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the restricting neurological condition affecting young adults.
Dietary modifications may have a positive impact on this condition. A healthy diet may play a vital role in an individual with MS to have lesser replases and lead a better life.
Evidence proves that healthy gut has a significant role in fighting autoimmune disease. Poor gut flora is one of the main causes of many immune disorders. A diet that promotes healthy gut flora may help people with multiple sclerosis to manage the challenging condition.
Diet Plan For Multiple Sclerosis
Probiotics are superfoods that are beneficial in promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut and bolsters the immune system. Probiotics are found in a wide range of fermented foods including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and fermented tea. These foods are loaded with lacto bacteria which is one type of good gut bacteria.
Foods which nurture and feed the probiotic bacteria in the gut are called prebiotics, which is majorly fibre rich produces. An individual with MS should at least have 5-8 grams of prebiotic fibre foods in daily regimen. Good sources of prebiotics are garlic, onion, artichoke, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats and apple.
Fibre is abundant in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts. These foods enhance health by nurturing the gut bacteria, regulating bowel movements and promoting digestion.
Vitamin D is one of the vital vitamins that regulate growth and differentiation of cells. As per the European Neurological Review scientists have found that vitamin D intake benefits people with MS and lowers risk of developing MS. Mushroom, fortified foods, salmon, cheese and egg are good sources.
Foods To Avoid
Saturated fats and processed food should be avoided for people with MS, as these foods contribute to poor gut flora.
High sodium foods and salt in the diet increase the risk of a lesion in people with multiple sclerosis. Limit intake of salt and preserved foods.
Avoid sugar-loaded foods, drinks and limit intake of processed meat, red meat and low-fibre foods.
Complementary and alternative medicines are group of therapies found to be valuable in mitigating multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and enhancing the quality of life.
Mindfulness practice, also known as mindful meditation is a kind of mind-body therapy. Meditation is a key element of complementary therapy, which remarkably improves mental health and well-being by easing stress, promoting sleep, concentration and focus.
This therapy is particularly helpful for MS patients because when they are stressed, the body activates the release of certain hormones that lead to inflammation and triggers MS relapses and worsen symptoms. Meditation can help control stress, improve fatigue and reduce the risk of depression.
When practised regularly meditation encourages patients to appreciate what is essential for life, without having any distraction of fear and stress. It induces a state of calm and mental clarity and also help MS patients to be more relaxed and strong.
Several studies reveal that for some people with MS, chronic exposure to stress is linked with aggravating neurological symptoms and brain lesions. Practising meditation may help people suffering from MS to respond well to stressful events by fostering healthier coping strategies. Furthermore, mindfulness therapy appears to be a safe approach to handle stress, anxiety, depression, and also lessen MS symptoms.